Rainfall mandates planting adjustments

Rainfall has prevented the preferred planting schedule for our state corn farmers. Persistent rain in April nearly surpassed 1998’s state record of 7.29 inches, prohibiting Ohio growers from entering the fields.

The optimum planting date range for corn in Ohio is April 20 until May 10. Farmers can and will plant corn well into May, but later planting does impact yield. If the intended corn acres do not materialize because of the weather, farmers tend to switch corn acres to soybean acres. It is still too early to tell how many acres this will affect.

To date, 1 percent of Ohio’s corn crop is planted, which is 38 percent less than the past year and 13 percent less than the five-year average. Typically, 15 percent of the corn crop is in the ground about this time of the year.

Corn consumption is projected to be near 13.25 billion bushels during the 2011-2012 marketing year. The USDA and others are predicting a national yield of 162 bushels per acre on a projected 92.2 million acres with 87 million acres being harvested for grain. The commitment is still there from the nation’s corn farmers to provide for all end users of corn.

Corn farmers will need to re-strategize their planting plans because of the weather delay. 
Some of the strategies may include:

  • Considering a shorter-season hybrid seed
  • Foregoing tilling or practice decrease tillage
  • Using an increased seed rate
  • Using nitrogen later or considering nitrogen alternatives

How are our Ohio wheat farmers affected by the wetness? The conditions for a successful wheat harvest won’t be known until harvest time—late June and July, but Ohio wheat farmers are scouting their fields to assess damage. Well-drained fields are expected to cope nicely, especially if June is dry. Ohio’s wheat crop came through the winter in better shape than other states. USDA rates more than 70 percent of Ohio’s wheat in fair to good condition.

Some good news — Winter wheat seedings were reported to be 3.7 million greater than seedings in the fall of 2009.

It’s important to address consumer fears about the rhetoric of potential food shortages and food-cost increases because of yield loss from bad weather. Ohio grain farmers watched the grain markets closely and modified their corn and wheat planting plans to ensure enough corn and wheat for all markets—food, feed, fuel and fiber.

As always, we welcome any questions or comments about or related to our work to advocate on behalf of Ohio’s grain industry. If you’re interested in joining in OCWGA, please contact us.


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